Vermonters and residents of Park Forest, Illinois proportionately post the most toxic online comments in the country, Wired reports.
The Green Mountain state is crawling with trolls.
Vermont residents proportionately post more toxic comments online over any other U.S. state, according to a new Wired report, “Trolls Across America.”
The tech news site teamed up with online commenting platform Disqus (which is used by Wired, Wirecutter, People and CNBC, to name a few – but not Facebook or Twitter) to analyze 92 million comments written by almost 2 million authors over 16 months.
And they found Vermonters posted the most nasty comments proportionate to their population – while their nextdoor neighbors in New Hampshire posted the fewest.
— Disqus (@disqus) August 22, 2017
The data miners defined a toxic comment as “a rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make you leave a discussion.” So someone saying, “They got their heads so far in the sand they will never recognize a wolf dressed like a sheep,” would be mildly toxic, while, “You are a racist pig, a slimeball,” would be toxic.
And in individual cities, Park Forest, Illinois was the most toxic in the U.S., with 34% of the comments being hostile – although 99% of them came from just two posters. Sharpsburg, Georgia – where “The Walking Dead” is filmed – was crowned the city with the least toxic comments – although it should be noted that it’s a small town, which means fewer authors are posting, period, let alone cyberbullying.
But don’t go pointing fingers just yet, because the report reveals that 25% of all posters made at least one toxic comment. So that means 1 in 4 of us is a jerk online sometimes. And most of us are slinging mud online at 3 a.m., when more than 1 in 10 comments (11%) are mean.
This news comes on the heels of First Lady Melania Trump and former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton aligning online to defend young Barron Trump from cyberbullying. A Daily Caller article made fun of the style of the President’s son. Barron is 11.
“It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves,” tweeted Clinton, whose own personal appearance was cruelly mocked while she was a tween in the White House.
It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves https://t.co/Wxq51TvgDX
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 21, 2017
Dear Matty-Barron is A KID. No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame https://t.co/p9jkGbMG4C
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 22, 2017
The First Lady, who has previously called for combating cyberbullying, thanked her warmly Twitter.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 23, 2017
Words can hurt as much as sticks and stones, research shows. More than half of teens have been cyberbullied, which is related to low self esteem and suicidal thoughts. Cyberbullying has also been linked with increased workplace stress, and lower work performance and productivity. And a couple of studies surveying commenters about their trolling behavior – such as asking if they “enjoy physically hurting people” – have found that the meanest commenters show higher traits of narcissism, psychopathy and sadism.
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